By Amy Carlson:
On March 13th of this year, as the world went into a COVID coma, I made a promise. I would dance every morning for as long as this virus kept me from being in my community. I decided I would host a Zoom call and dance with whomever showed up. I invited all my friends to dance with me, and many of them have.
It was a life-saving move. Whose life was I saving? Mine, of course.
You see, Parkinson’s Disease does the most damage in the dark, empty world where dopamine is as scarce as HOPE; that’s a place known as isolation. The demon has many tricks up its sleeve to induce a state of loneliness so cold that giving up is easy. Apathy and depression are perhaps the most devastating part of Parkinson’s Disease. And I fear them.
It's been 275 days since I made that promise to dance every day—and I mean every day (7 days a week, all holidays included)—and we have danced. There are great days and there are days when the internet throws rocks at us. There are days when the playlist rocks the house, and days when it fails to move us (sorry about the Stravinsky, Brenda). Some people come and stay awhile (shout out to Julie, we miss you!), others come and almost immediately leave (we understand; we aren’t for everybody), and some have found a home there (Brenda, Judy, Naomi, Steve, Debra, Carol, Jane, Kelly, Nancy, Pat, May, Cidney, Greg, Jan, Karen, Monica). Most of us have Parkinson’s Disease but some of us do not (Jeannie, Kristin, Leslie, Gabby).
Along the way we have made some marvelous friends. Donald "please call me Donnie" Sorah is one of those friends. Donnie is a music professor at UVA-Wise. He doesn’t have Parkinson’s Disease, but he knows the score; his father rode the PD train. Donnie loves music like we love dance, and if that sounds like a perfect match you may be right.
On December 20th we are throwing a party.
We are celebrating HOPE.
The kind of HOPE that keeps people with Parkinson’s Disease dancing.
The kind of HOPE that makes a 73-year-old Parkie pick up his tenor saxophone and blow the sweetest solo.
The kind of HOPE that makes Donnie volunteer to mix over 30 individually recorded music tracks into one rocking jazz piece that is sure to make Vince Guaraldi smile.
The kind of HOPE that produces a rocking music video celebrating the musical talent and dance stylings of the Parkinson’s Community.
The kind of HOPE that makes us think this yet unfinished music video is deserving of a WORLD PREMIERE! (We got a few days left to finish it!)
The kind of HOPE that the Davis Phinney Foundation dishes out to people living with Parkinson’s Disease every day.
You can live well with Parkinson’s Disease, DPF will show you how, and we know they are right because we are living proof.